Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rend Your Hearts

  Over the past month, I have been more aware of the approaching Lenten season than usual. Although I did not grow up observing this season, as an adult, I have participated by fasting about 50% of the time. I think it is a wonderful way to prepare my heart and mind for the celebration of Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection, and I appreciate how it aids in creating anticipation and gratefulness.This year I've chosen to make a few adjustments during Lent with the purpose of filling my mind with God's truths more than with the opinions and thoughts of others.
  In an attempt to give myself a little direction in this endeavor I spent some time in between clients this morning searching for liturgical reading guides to accompany the Lenten season. Since our church doesn't observe many of the practices that accompany the traditional church calendar, I thought it would be neat to learn more about which particular Scriptures and ideas other denominations are meditating on during this time. When I found a website called "The Text This Week", I felt like I had stumbled onto a treasure trove of resources that will provide me with exactly what I was looking for. Basically, the site is maintained by a woman who has studied church history and Biblical studies and is interested in providing tools to aid people across denominations in their studies, as they relate to the Revised Common Lectionary cycle, which many liturgical denominations follow.  She states:
"The purpose of this website is to provide links to resources for study, reflection and liturgy which correspond to the RCL readings you may be using for study, teaching & preaching."
  I haven't had time to do much exploring, but the few articles and commentaries that I have followed links to have been encouraging. If any of you are looking to either understand this season and its traditions a little more, or just looking for good resources to deepen your devotional life during this time, I would highly recommend that you check out her site. Just be prepared to be a little overwhelmed - there's a lot there.

  As the end of this Ash Wednesday is drawing near, I am trying to keep my heart focused on the message of Joel 2 (one of the Scriptures commonly read in both Catholic and Methodist churches on Ash Wednesday). I particularly love verse 13:
 "Rend your heart
   and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
   for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
   and he relents from sending calamity."
   I pray that my focus during this season would be on allowing God to rend my heart and change my inner person - not just on outward fasts or symbols that may or may not create any lasting growth. What a beautiful hope that as Easter approaches we have hope that we can always return to our God who is slow to anger and abounding in love!

1 comment:

kaw said...

Thanks for the resource! I was thinking about doing the same thing. I'm so glad you did it for me! :) Love reading about the anticipation of Miss Cora Lawson!